'Lone wolf' tenor booted from singing group after adding 'all lives matter' to Canadian national anthem

This proved to be the wrong time to make a political statement.
(Image credit: Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

Singing the national anthem before a big sporting event can be a big deal, so the British Columbia vocal quartet The Tenors was excited about being chosen to sing "O Canada" during the MLB All-Star Game in San Diego on Tuesday night.

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During the middle part of the Canadian national anthem, typically sung in French at sporting events, one of the tenors changed the line "With glowing hearts we see thee rise, the True North strong and free" to "We're all brothers and sisters, all lives matter to the great," holding up a handwritten sign with "All Lives Matter" on one side and "United We Stand" on the other. "All Lives Matter" is generally viewed as either a misguided, race-neutral offshoot of the Black Lives Matter movement or, more often, a way of undermining the message that African-Americans are killed and incarcerated at greater rates than other racial and ethnic groups in the U.S.

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MLB said afterward it had no idea The Tenors planned to make a political statement, and The Tenors apparently didn't either. In a statement, the group blamed the lyric change on Remigio Pereira, who acted "as a 'lone wolf'" in his "disrespectful and misguided" alteration of "our treasured anthem." The three other members of the group "are shocked and embarrassed," the statement said, and thanks to Pereira's "extremely selfish" political activism, "he will not be performing with The Tenors until further notice."

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The performance was broadcast in Canada but not the U.S., and it caused little stir in Petco Park — because the sound was a little mangled, and probably because U.S. baseball fans aren't intimately familiar with Canada's national anthem. Just to clarify, it isn't a good idea to change the words to any country's national anthem during a high-profile performance — and only Canada's Parliament is allowed to change the lyrics to "O Canada."